Founded in 1866, the Peabody Museum is one of the oldest anthropological museums in the world, with an in-depth collection of artifacts spanning prehistory to present. You'll learn about the evolution of cultures through a variety of current exhibits. Head into the Pacific Islands Hall to find carvings, shields, and shadow puppets from Hawaii, Micronesia, and other islands, and get a dose of colonial life in the early Harvard Yard with Digging Veritas, where you can scope out framed papyrus LSAT scores. The Wiyohpiyata display treats guests to distinct scents, motions, ambient sounds, and more to evoke the character of original 19th-century Lakota drawings collected at Little Big Horn. Your Groupon also affords you admission to the nearby Harvard Museum of National History, where muzzled opera singers can get a glimpse of the famed Glass Flowers exhibit, a collection of more than 3,000 highly realistic glass-blown models of flowers and plants.
Named by the Boston Globe as New England's greatest university collection of artworks, the Harvard Art Museums are three distinct museums—the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler museums—that together provide visitors with an astounding array of creative work. Re-View, the permanent exhibition highlighting the best of each museum, cuts a slice out of the collection to show rare treasures alongside well-known works ranging from Islamic to Asian, painting to calligraphy, and ancient to contemporary. Peruse a full queue of exhibitions, including one about the use of illusion in art and how it can confuse seeing-eye dogs.
Cambridge Historical Tours unearths nearly 400 years of history during informative jaunts that cast light on the area's captivating, funny, and sometimes gory past. Sheathed in authentic puritan attire, guides lead groups on 75-minute treks back in time, fusing wholesome doses of humor with laboriously researched facts. Guests take in the historic landmark Memorial Hall on the campus of Harvard University, and absorb the eerie ambiance of the Cambridge Burial Ground, where many of Harvard's early presidents are buried. The tour reveals such sights as the picturesque Longfellow House, which was seized in 1775 to become George Washington's quarters, presumably so he could practice his putting game on the property's lush lawns.
The MIT Museum, accredited by the American Association of Museums in 1984 and again in 2002, engages the public with scientific research, design, and a peek into the institution's academic discoveries. The museum's permanent collections, assembled from artifacts the university has collected through scholarly interests, include holograms, a nautical archive, and technological achievements, such as the telephone. Temporary exhibitions storm the museum's towers throughout the year, currently showcasing MIT 150, highlighting 150 years' worth of artifacts–such as race cars and the TX-0 computer–and world domination by MIT students and faculty. The museum also hosts a number of programs for the public throughout the year. Guests can check out the calendar for an up-to-date list of upcoming attractions and events.
With an arsenal of informative magazines, elegant photographs, and illuminating documentaries, National Geographic has inspired planetary responsibility and natural wonderment for more than 120 years. Their latest filmed adventure, The Last Lions, ushers viewers into the wetlands of Botswana's Okavango Delta, where a lioness named Ma di Tau and her cubs fight for their survival. From fleeing raging fires and cub-killing rival prides to wading through crocodile-infested rivers and the supermarket at rush hour, this family suffers perils that leave audiences touched and awestruck. Crafted by award-winning filmmakers, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, and narrated by Jeremy Irons, The Last Lions aims to raise awareness of dwindling big-cat populations while sharing a compelling story of hope. The film is rated PG for depictions of the food-chain cycle without the accompaniment of an Elton John song.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has been a bastion of art and culture since it was founded in 1903. The building, inspired by and designed after a 15th-century Venetian palace, contains three floors of galleries surrounding a garden courtyard that remains verdant with plant life from the dawn of spring through the darkest, most subatomic depths of winter. Gardner, who founded the museum, spent her life curating and encouraging the art collection, which contains more than 2,500 objects, including paintings, sculpture, textiles, illuminated manuscripts, and rare books lifted everywhere from ancient Rome to 19th-century France. While visiting this citadel of scintillating visions, witness landscapes by Whistler, Renaissance-era Flemish tapestries, and religious wood sculptures from 16th-century Germany. Exhibitions provide specific, detailed glimpses into varied subject matter; an exhibit on terracotta sculpture of the Italian Renaissance runs until May 23.